How an "old hippie" got accused of astroturfing the right-wing campaign to reopen the economy - 2020-04-20
I caught up with Michael Murphy late on Sunday from his home in Jacksonville, Florida, but it wasn't easy: he hadn't been able to answer his phone for 24 hours. "I had to turn it off," he said. "I'm also getting spearphishing emails every 30 seconds."
The angry callers had gotten Murphy's name from one of the dozens of domain registries that he had set up since Friday night. That day, a friend who lived in North Carolina noticed that right-wingers in that state and across the country were setting up rallies attacking business closures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"I bought these names to try to stop the insanity, basically. And it just turned to insanity."
Murphy, who said he's staunchly opposed to and frustrated by the protests because of the risks they pose in accelerating the spread of the coronavirus, and his friend realized that the organizers, which turned out to include a small group of pro-gun advocates helping coordinate the campaign, were using a simple state-based abbreviation pattern to register websites promoting the protests.